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Veltigar

Watch, Watched, Watching: The Shield lands on top

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Haven't watched any films for ages (mostly a product of moving house and not really 'sitting down to watch stuff' very often any more as we live in our kitchen now). As a result of binge-listening to LOADS of episodes of the Soundtracking podcast this week and listening to the Peter Jackson episode about the Mortal Engines soundtrack by Junkie XL, I realised that I had forgotten about this film adaptation. We watched it last night. I thought it was very true to the book. It's also incredibly high octane action, action, action - which is pretty cool. I think that maybe the emotional 'weight' of the film was less convincing than the action but it runs at such high speed that it's not really a problem. Hugo Weaving does a good job of playing the bad guy, but tbh I think he could have gone a bit more evil. Some of the other performances are a bit more pedestrian. Overall, thoroughly enjoyable.

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Posted (edited)

I finally got around to seeing Glengarry Glen Ross, and I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. Yes, the famous scene from the movie is great, if not also despicable, but the rest of the movie is just alright. Talk about one hell of a cast though. 

Edited by Tywin et al.

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Watched the 1989 film Heathers last night, in part because I enjoy the musical soundtrack so much. 

It is a pretty wild film that jumps from one "wtf just happened" moment to the next, although I'm fairly sure that is intentional. I thought Ryder and Slater were very good as Veronica and J.D.

Although I haven't seen the musical I've listened to the soundtrack more than I care to admit and it seems like its largely the same but goes into a bit more depth on some things (like how Veronica joins the Heathers). 

I also looked it up and apparently the film only made something like $175,000 at box office. Ouch.

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I finally got around to seeing Glengarry Glen Ross, and I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. Yes, the famous scene from the movie is great, if not also despicable, but the rest of the movie is just alright. Talk about one hell of a cast though. 

I was listening yesterday to Rob Lowe's podcast where he spoke to Alec Baldwin, and Baldwin has a great anecdote involving Alan Arkin blowing up at him while he was in makeup. Baldwin's impersonation of Arkin is uncanny. The story starts at the 11:30 mark here (the transcript says  the impersonation part is at 10:11, but it's more like 12:00).

18 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

It is a pretty wild film that jumps from one "wtf just happened" moment to the next, although I'm fairly sure that is intentional. I thought Ryder and Slater were very good as Veronica and J.D.

Heathers is such a bold, weird film -- a teenage black comedy in the era of John Hughes, deliberately responding to his nostalgic and generally positive depictions of high school and teenage life. It's also once of the most cited films in the OED, cited a dozen times for particular senses of words.

For my part, watched Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die, a meta and laid back zombie film. Amazing cast including with Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Danny Glover, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Carol Kane. It's an interesting, kind of loving take on the genre, but done with a kind of ironic distance that makes it lack any sort of immediacy. Very dry humor.  If you like Jarmusch, well, this is minor Jarmusch. 

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Finished season 2 of Breaking Bad the day before yesterday. I'm curious how the next seasons will evolve, as the consensus seems to be that season 3 and 4 are the strongest installments of the series.

As to season two, I'd actually say that it's about on par with season one overall. It's really hard to say which one is superior so far. Season two does more interesting things with the characters, expanding the cast of characters who do not feel like caricatures from just Walter White to include Jessie and Hank as well. Saul Bellows also feels like a great addition to the cast.

Season one has a more interesting narrative though. I was missing something in the antagonist department I guess. Tuco was pretty bad, but at least he was present. Curious to see how this will change in the future with the introduction of Gus. He's a bit of a cipher so far, but seeing how Giancarlo Esposito is now the main villain in everything from the Boys to the Mandalorian, he must have put in a good job here in later seasons.

If the next seasons don't increase their quality, than I think I'll probably end up on @RumHam side. For now, I find the show perfectly enjoyable but it's a far cry from the level of quality I would suspect given its reputation. There are the problems with the characters that remain, but I also find myself baffled by some of the coincidences that occur in the series:

Spoiler

The two planes crashing into each other because Walt let junkie kid die and they do so exactly above his house?

I have a hard time taking it seriously when it pulls stuff like this. It's at its best when it tries to offer a facsimile of reality to me and moments like that just pull me out of that. 

On top of that, I also watched Kong: Skull Island and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, as well as the first episode of Justified. To start with the series, I think I watched the first season of Justified years ago as well, but I was then unable to continue. I wanted to give it another go mainly due to my love for Walton Goggins' turn in The Shield. Looking back to it, that was a damn good performance and now I feel like Goggins' involvement in something is a stamp of quality. I'll probably finish Breaking Bad first, but Justified is the next series in line.

As to the two films, I'm really sorry I missed out on Kong: Skull island at the movies. This was a great popcorn flick, right up there with stuff like Independence Day. It's pure schlock, but it is brought so earnestly that you can't help but love it.

The film knows how ridiculous it is and instead of trying to trick you into believing that it is somehow "art" (as Gareth Edward tried to do in Godzilla with that amazing halo jump sequence) it just doubles down on the stupid to give you a katana wielding Tom Hiddleston slashing proto-dinosaurs to shit like he's stuck in fruit ninja. 

The action scenes and monsters were pretty great in it and I was especially pleased with just how funny this was. I have never been a Kong fan, which is why I skipped this originally (Peter Jackson's 2005 outing is just so dreadfully boring that I though it has poisoned the well for me), but I decided to watch this to tide me over for Godzilla vs. Kong and was very happy with it. I wish there were more blockbusters like this.

To end, I'm going to offer a hot take on Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Fell asleep several times throughout the movie, so that's never a promising sign. It gets worse though, as I watched an episode of Breaking Bad and Justified afterwards and I was wide awake for those. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is one of those films that got lucky that they had a lead die. There is nothing like that posthumous glow to sell a film to sappy critics. Twelve Angry Man shows that a film based on a play can be just as engrossing, mesmerizing and important than a film that is written for the screen, but Ma Rainey's Black Bottom doesn't fall into that league for me.

On 4/16/2021 at 3:45 AM, Zorral said:

@Veltigar  -- Thanks so much for the heads up on McDonald & Dodds.  I've watched first episode, which was enjoyable in all the escapist ways one wishes, including, of course -- Bath architecture.

 

You're welcome, I just started watching the final episode of the second season today. It's such a gloriously silly episode, full of fun and laughter despite the murders. They really have the tone of their show down so well :) 

On 4/16/2021 at 2:17 AM, Cas Stark said:

Walt was always an asshole, but I think he was supposed to be a genius, but his assholeness caused him to be unable to deal w/his peers, which is why he ultimately ended up a HS teacher, not a billionaire or millionaire until meth that is.

Hmm, based on only two season, I don't know whether that's the case. He genuinely seems like a pretty great guy before the show. Everyone seemed to like him and he was good enough to become head of the science faculty at his high-school. Presumably he worked with others a lot there and still didn't show the assholeness of Heisenberg.

On 4/16/2021 at 12:27 AM, DMC said:

I can understand viewing First Season Jessie as an annoying caricature, but he grows into an outstanding character.  I guess that doesn't really become fully developed until season 3.

 

He's already greatly improved in season 2 I have to admit, so definitely curious.

On 4/16/2021 at 12:27 AM, DMC said:

Feel like it should be noted that the vitriol and backlash towards Skyler eventually led to the actress writing an op-ed in the NYT on such hatred (linked to an EW write up on it since NYT is paywalled).

Anyway, while I love BCS and it's certainly more..polished, BB is clearly the superior show IMO.  Also, if you're complaining about BB being too slow, it pales in comparison to BCS.

Is anyone complaining about the speed of the show? I feel like that's not something I wrote, as that is okay so far.

On 4/16/2021 at 12:53 AM, Cas Stark said:

Yo. I will fight anyone who says Jesse Pinkman is not a great character.  Bitch. 

I thought the idea that not liking Sky is somehow sexist was unfortunate.  Her character was controlling and passive aggressive and does some actively bad things in later seasons.  Of course, she's no Walt.  But, I admit, if I Skyler and Mike were drowning and I could only save one, I would have saved Mike.

I mean, she's clearly morally superior to Walt. Never going to argue that, but she's also annoying and just not compelling on her own in the series so far. That's why I don't enjoy spending my precious spare time with her.

To contrast that with The Shield. Vic Mackey is an absolute monster, but that's such a compelling character that I was  interested in his story regardless. He was opposed by people like Claudette, who is also clearly morally superior, but she was also interesting as a character in her own right. That's something I don't have with Skyler.

On 4/16/2021 at 2:14 AM, DMC said:

I wouldn't necessarily put it on Gilligan/the writers.  But yeah, Carmela Soprano and Betty Draper are other examples.

Hmmm, I haven't watched Mad Men, but from what I have seen of The Sopranos and can remember, I wouldn't bash on Carmela this hard. There is just something in this performance that is annoying as hell. Perhaps because Carmella has always had something to complain about (Tony being in the mob forever), while Skyler seems to have been a nag even when Walter was just a perpetually depressed high-school chemistry teacher with money issues. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

For my part, watched Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die, a meta and laid back zombie film. Amazing cast including with Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Danny Glover, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Carol Kane. It's an interesting, kind of loving take on the genre, but done with a kind of ironic distance that makes it lack any sort of immediacy. Very dry humor.  If you like Jarmusch, well, this is minor Jarmusch. 

I really loved Murray and Driver's deadpan performances, and the physical acting adds so much to many of the performances as well. You're right to say it's very dry, but if you're in the mood for that and like the zombie genre, this one's a gem. It's available on HBO, so I might watch it tonight.

Also, count me as another big fan of Heathers.

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Heathers is one of those movies you realize you've never seen, but for no good reason. I remember thinking for years it was named after the plant, not the girls' name. Considering my strong teenage crush on Winona Ryder (though I hated Doherty), I have no clue how I never got around to watching it.

And, lookee here, it's on Prime.

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We watched Boss Level last night on Hulu. It has a bunch of Edge of Tomorrow in it but it works. Nothing deep or anything but an entertaining, funny, action movie.

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4 hours ago, Veltigar said:

There are the problems with the characters that remain, but I also find myself baffled by some of the coincidences that occur in the series:

  Hide contents

The two planes crashing into each other because Walt let junkie kid die and they do so exactly above his house?

I have a hard time taking it seriously when it pulls stuff like this. It's at its best when it tries to offer a facsimile of reality to me and moments like that just pull me out of that. 

 

Also 

As I recall the only reason he goes back and ends up witnessing her death is because he has a conversation with a man who unbeknownst to him is her father at a bar.

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Has anyone seen the Brazilian Netflix dystopian thriller/drama 3%? I randomly saw someone mention it on another site, looked it up, thought the premise sounded very interesting, the trailer looked really good - and I've just finished 1x01. It's one of the best first episodes I've seen in a while. I just hope the rest of the show is this good. Great premise, interesting plot, characters already strongly drawn.

Why haven't I heard of this show before? (I know why, non-English language shwos still don't get enough hype.) It's already had 4 seasons.

 

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I just watched the first episode of Gentleman Jack. An 8 part British series set around the 1830s. Not too deep, a bit of escapism, a fascinating, if quite flawed heroine (who, I am sure, will learn some lessons)... Quite nice.

The first episode of Fleabag was... disturbing. I don't find it very funny (ok, there were some moments), it rather screams "deeply tragic" to me. Great acting and clever writing though.

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11 hours ago, Veltigar said:

On top of that, I also watched Kong: Skull Island and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, as well as the first episode of Justified. To start with the series, I think I watched the first season of Justified years ago as well, but I was then unable to continue. I wanted to give it another go mainly due to my love for Walton Goggins' turn in The Shield. Looking back to it, that was a damn good performance and now I feel like Goggins' involvement in something is a stamp of quality. I'll probably finish Breaking Bad first, but Justified is the next series in line.

You can't judge Justified off it's first season which is a weak one relative to the others. It's certainly a good show to follow up the Shield with, but isn't as good and has some greater ups and downs in terms of quality. Still very entertaining until the end.

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Dead dont die was deeply disappointing for us. We were hoping for more comedy and more actual movie, but holy shit is it slow paced and pointless. 

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Just watched The Big Short. Cannot recommend it enough. I'm not sure why it's marketed as a comedy given that it's not all that funny, but they do a great job of breaking down the basics of what created the financial collapse. 

I'm up next for Dead Don't Die. 

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Posted (edited)

I finally decided to watch Ted Lasso.  For some reason, I assumed that it would be some silly comedy akin to The Last Man on Earth.  However, it's a really good mix of comedy and drama, and it's far better than I expected it to be.  I just finished episode 5, the one when Lasso's wife and son visit from USA.  All I can say is: I'm not crying, you're crying.

Edited by Teng Ai Hui

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I finished It's a Sin last night. As always, thanks to the board for this recommendation. Had watched the first episode but then couldn't find the time to string the remaining episodes together - until yesterday. Glad I did, it creates a roller-coaster of emotions and I don't think it would have impacted me the same if each episode was taken piecemeal. Others on this board have articulated better than I what makes this short series so gripping. I have to point out the work of Murray Gold, who does the music - the drumbeats of which are perfectly timed to meet the swells of emotions. Its not an easy watch by any means but by the end of 5 episodes you come out feeling you've explored much of the human condition.

Looking to finish off the night on a different tack I watched Don Hertzfeldt's feature It's Such a Beautiful Day. Oh dear, wrong choice for what I was hoping for - but I stayed with it and have no regrets. Who would think one could be so engrossed and invested in the fate of a stick figure character (the whole feature is animated and narrated by Hertzfeldt). The musical excerpts are not squandered but form a fabric over which the story is told. And some of the stories range from nonsense rhyme to heart-aching.       

He died alone in a field one Summer morning while dreaming of the moon.
Six weeks later a sunflower grew out of his head.

It's such a Beautiful Day is such a beautiful film.

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3 hours ago, Karlbear said:

Dead dont die was deeply disappointing for us. We were hoping for more comedy and more actual movie, but holy shit is it slow paced and pointless. 

I think I made it about 10 minutes before I bailed on it.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, RumHam said:

Also 

 

  Reveal hidden contents

As I recall the only reason he goes back and ends up witnessing her death is because he has a conversation with a man who unbeknownst to him is her father at a bar.

 

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. The show is full of things like that and it kind off gets on my nerves :)

6 hours ago, WarGalley said:

You can't judge Justified off it's first season which is a weak one relative to the others. It's certainly a good show to follow up the Shield with, but isn't as good and has some greater ups and downs in terms of quality. Still very entertaining until the end.

I think I'll also cut Justified some more slack because I see it as an action series first. Where The Shield and Breaking Bad have to clear higher levels of quality as they are seen as some of the all-time greats, a little escapist shoot en-up show that doesn't have any pretensions can be great as well.

I compare it with something like Banshee. The first few seasons of that were far from high art, but I loved the fighting enough to ignore other problems with it.

3 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

I finally decided to watch Ted Lasso.  For some reason, I assumed that it would be some silly comedy akin to The Last Man on Earth.  However, it's a really good mix of comedy and drama, and it's far better than I expected it to be.  I just finished episode 5, the one when Lasso's wife and son visit from USA.  All I can say is: I'm not crying, you're crying.

Time for my obligatory, Ted Lasso is awesome post :D I haven't met anyone yet who wasn't charmed by it. if they can keep this sort of feeling up for the entire runtime of the show, it is definitely an all-time great show for me. 

Edited by Veltigar

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10 hours ago, Mindwalker said:

I just watched the first episode of Gentleman Jack. An 8 part British series set around the 1830s. Not too deep, a bit of escapism, a fascinating, if quite flawed heroine (who, I am sure, will learn some lessons)... Quite nice.

The first episode of Fleabag was... disturbing. I don't find it very funny (ok, there were some moments), it rather screams "deeply tragic" to me. Great acting and clever writing though.

I didn't like Fleabag until the season 1 finale. Season 2 was much better than season 1.

It's definitely more of a dramedy than a straight up comedy. 

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On 4/18/2021 at 2:36 AM, DireWolfSpirit said:

Make sure you do see Hotel Mumbai as well it's outstanding.

26/11 attacks they call it. like 9/11 except date months inversed IIRC in respective nations. But the political agenda was stifling.

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